The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Water Your Foundation?

Most homeowners know that in extreme conditions of excessive moisture (usually in the form of rain) there may be some movement of their foundation, concrete sidewalks and driveways. The hydrolic pressure posed by expanding soils will easily move a house and all of its contents a few inches over time. The same holds true of extreme conditions of dryness, such as the current drought conditions throughout most of the country. The moisture in the soil receeds and causes the home to move in the opposite directions.

Ground movement due to the drought has caused concrete roadways to buckle and water-mains to burst.

A recent caller described her brick chimney as pulling away from the house but upon further analysis it was determined that her home was settling away from the well-supported chimney. Other homeowners are calling about doors not shutting properly, cracks in the drywall near their windows and doors and cracks in their foundations.

To help prevent the excessive movement of your home, water near the foundation in these extreme dry conditions. If you notice a 1/2 inch crack, or wider, in the dirt in or around your foundation, or between the dirt and the foundation, your house is subject to settling issues. With cracks that wide, too much watering at one time will lead to moisture in the basement so it must be done gradually over a period of a few days to a few weeks. One of the best methods is to use "soaker" hoses and keep them a foot or two away from the foundation while in use. Start out with watering about 1/2 hour a couple times a day to longer periods if a change in the width of the cracks is not noticable.

Foundation repairs are very costly. Repairs to the cracks in the walls, ceilings and adjustment of doors and windows can be costly as well. Spending some time and a few extra dollars on your water bill may be all it takes to keep your home from settling in these extreme weather conditions.